A NEW Spare Room-style rental website has been set up in Portsmouth to crack down on dodgy landlords.
The city has seen an increase in the number of rogue landlords operating across the area over the last few years and now in a bid to mitigate the problems, Portsmouth City Council have set up their own rental website.
Rent it Right offers a service akin to popular online property websites Rightmove and SpareRoom in which potential tenants scour the area for good quality properties to rent.
However, the slick new site comes with a difference as all landlords have been vetted and approved by the council's landlord accreditation scheme and the authority will only list properties that are of a high standard, free of household problems such as damp and mould and owned by 'responsible landlords.'
It will be run by the authority's private housing team.
Bruce Lomax, the council's private sector housing manager, said: 'We have created the site as a response to the number of rogue landlords operating out there, not just in Portsmouth but across the UK.
'Over the last few years we have seen an increase in the number of landlords who have no regard for their tenants or the wider community around them, seeking only to make money in what is a very buoyant private rental market.
'Once a rogue landlord is identified my team work hard to trace them and enforcement action is normally taken, but in some instances this action could be at the detriment of the tenants as they could incur loss of rent or deposit.
'The level of accommodation within Portsmouth varies greatly and sadly, our private sector housing team still have to tackle sub-standard housing and rogue practices on a regular basis.'
All listings on the site will include detailed information about the properties and the available facilities in addition to pictures.
Landlords who sign up to the scheme provide the council with a full list of properties they own or manage, allow access for inspections and checks to be carried out and have to ensure the properties meet the scheme's requirements.
Councillor Jennie Brent, cabinet member for housing said: 'Rent it Right will provide those looking for a property in the city with a safe and easy way to find a good quality home, with a landlord they can trust. Your home is your sanctuary and the place to go to escape the hassles of everyday life.
'Unfortunately there are a minority of landlords out there that ruin this by failing to meet healthy living standards, or by ignoring or worse, mistreating their tenants.'
The council launched their landlord accreditation scheme (LAS) back in 2010 to recognise the importance of landlords' good practice and improve conditions in the private rented sector.
An estimated 81 per cent of Portsmouth's 207,000 residents live in the private sector, either as owner occupiers or in rental accommodation.
Head to rentitright.co.uk to visit the new site.